One of the most stylish, smoothest and laid-back swing jazz combinations around. (Review by Keith Millar)
I think Beat-Route must be one of the coolest names for a band ever. But this band doesn’t just have a cool name. It is one of the most stylish, smoothest and laid-back swing jazz combinations around.
Appearing at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo last week-end, they displayed serious musical skills to go along with their showmanship and a great sense of fun.
They performed as a seven piece on this occasion but, much to my disappointment, without their extraordinary guitarist Gerald Sloan. However, Beat-Route gives each band member a chance to shine and this they did with aplomb.
The band featured two female vocalists, Zoe Masuku and Kerry Langley. They are both blessed with sultry and sexy jazz voices. They blended perfectly together singing as a duo for songs such as the show’s title song, Mr. Bojangles, an unusual jazz arrangement of The House of the Rising Sun, and Hugh Masekela’s Grazing in the Grass, which also featured some stirring double bass playing by Logan Byrne.
Masuku also delivered The Look of Love (which the band renamed The Look of Lunch apparently inspired by pianist George Shearing) while Langley offered My Funny Valentine and At Last.
David Langley (the husband of Kerry) was excellent on the upright piano - a real piano, for once – particularly when performing The Entertainer, while Riley Giandhari on drums was a revelation. His drum solos were sustained very energetic and quite brilliant. Alone worth the ticket price.
The frontline of band leader Daniel Sheldon on trumpet/flugel horn and the inimitable Tom Hare on saxophone came into their own with numbers such as Tin Roof Blues, Muskrat Ramble and their own composition, The Mealie Lover.
Mr Bojangles, dance is a most enjoyable show. This is a band that enjoys what they are doing and this reflects in their performance. It would be appreciated not only by jazz lovers but anyone who enjoys good live music well performed.
Mr Bojangles is another in a long line of excellent music productions which have been produced by the innovative Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo. It may be situated in an old, rather quaint MOTH Shellhole hall, but inside it is a modern theatre with the best in sound and lighting equipment and is fully rigged for AV presentations. It has a casual, friendly and easy-going ambiance which is an ideal for the music revue/tribute type productions it presents.
The Rhumbelow is the last independent theatre in Durban and needs to be supported and kept alive.
Mr Bojangles, Dance with Beat-Route has performances scheduled for February 24 and 25 at 20h00 and on February 26 at 14h00 and 18h30. Contact Roland for confirmation of dates and times.
Tickets R150 pp. Bring food picnic baskets (braais will be available for those who wish to cook some meat). Bar available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises) and there is limited secure parking.
Booking is essential through Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636 or email : email@example.com or events.durbantheatre.com – Keith Millar